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G7 leaders warn China not to conduct ‘interference’ as Zelenskyy arrives at summit


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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left to right, follows French President Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as they take their places for a family photo at the G7 Summit, Saturday, May 20, 2023 in Hiroshima, Japan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

By Nojoud Al Mallees in Hiroshima

Canada and the G7 have reasserted their intention to decrease their economic dependency on China while specifically calling on the country not to conduct “interference activities.”

The leaders gathered for their annual summit in Hiroshima, Japan put out a joint communiqué on Saturday that included the new language on foreign interference at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s request.

It warned China it must “act in accordance with its obligations” under the treaties that govern diplomatic and consular relations, “and not to conduct interference activities aimed at undermining the security and safety of our communities, the integrity of our democratic institutions and our economic prosperity.”

A Canadian official said during a media briefing ahead of the document’s release that Trudeau had specifically raised the issue with his counterparts from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

World leaders have faced a high-stakes balancing act in Hiroshima as they look to address a raft of global worries demanding urgent attention, including climate change, artificial intelligence, poverty and economic instability, nuclear proliferation and, above all, the war in Ukraine.

Their communiqué was released ahead of schedule to accommodate an appearance by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who arrived in Hiroshima Saturday afternoon after attending the Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia.

His appearance came after G7 countries announced new sanctions on Russia on Friday.

The communiqué reaffirmed the nations’ support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion, saying they would continue to bolster the country’s efforts “for as long as it takes.”

The leaders, who met in a city once decimated by an atomic bomb, also committed to working toward a world without nuclear weapons, “with undiminished security for all.”

Amid China’s growing influence, the leaders said they plan to protect themselves by working together to counter economic coercion and stand against unfair practices.

But Trudeau and his counterparts also said in the document they seek “constructive” relations with the world’s second-largest economy.

“Our policy approaches are not designed to harm China nor do we seek to thwart China’s economic progress and development. A growing China that plays by international rules would be of global interest,” the document said.

“At the same time, we recognize that economic resilience requires de-risking and diversifying. We will take steps, individually and collectively, to invest in our own economic vibrancy. We will reduce excessive dependencies in our critical supply chains.”

Last week, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China itself is a victim of economic coercion.

“If any country should be criticized for economic coercion, it should be the United States. The U.S. has been overstretching the concept of national security, abusing export controls and taking discriminatory and unfair measures against foreign companies,” Wang said in a routine news briefing.

As G7 nations aim to woo countries away from China and Russia and to their side, Japan invited countries from the Global South to participate in this year’s summit.

And as part of its efforts to broaden its alliances, Canada announced new investments to support people in emerging economies and developing nations.

The hundreds of millions of dollars announced will go toward addressing climate change, energy, food security and women’s issues.

Trudeau is expected to hold a news conference on Sunday as the summit concludes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 20, 2023.

— With files from The Associated Press.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Cost of living: Pepsi and Coca-Cola absent in meeting with federal industry minister

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Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne speaks to reporters in the foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. Canada’s industry minister made a point of calling out Pepsi and Coca-Cola for not sending representatives to a meeting he convened on Monday with manufacturing companies to discuss stabilizing grocery prices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick


Canada’s industry minister made a point of calling out Pepsi and Coca-Cola for not sending representatives to a meeting he convened on Monday with manufacturing companies to discuss stabilizing grocery prices.

François-Philippe Champagne singled out the two companies when asked by a journalist what the consequences would be if major industry players did not succeed in stopping high inflation.

“This morning, (their CEOs) did not attend the meeting,” Champagne said of beverage giants Pepsi and Coca-Cola.

“I intend to call on them and I will continue to do so. … I don’t stop,” he told reporters.

The Canadian leaders of seven international manufacturing companies, including Nestlé and Kraft Heinz, met with Champagne.

He summoned them to answer to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s call earlier this month for Canadian grocers to come up with a plan to stabilize prices by Thanksgiving.

If major grocers fail to deliver ideas, Champagne said, “the consequence is for all 40 million Canadians because we will be able to see who is taking action and who is not.”

A government source told The Canadian Press that the CEOs of Pepsi and Coca-Cola responded to the federal government summons by stating they were not available Monday. The source was granted anonymity because they were not allowed to speak publicly about the matter.

It’s unclear, however, whether another meeting between major food companies and the government will take place.

Monday’s meeting brought together top Canadian executives from McCain, Unilever, Nestlé, Lactalis, Lassonde, Kraft Heinz, and Smucker Foods.

All avoided speaking with journalists. The CEO of the Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada association, Michael Graydon, attended the meeting and agreed to answer questions on their behalf.

Graydon called the meeting “very productive.”

”We’re very much about co-operation and support, collaboration,” he said. “It’s an industry that needs to align and work collectively to find a solution.”

He said manufacturers want to collaborate with other players in the supply chain, such as major retailers like Loblaw and Costco, whose leaders Champagne met with one week earlier.

In a statement, Pepsi said it is open to meeting with Champagne.

“We are pleased that our industry association, FHCP, led a productive conversation with the government and representatives from industry today,” it said.

“We were not able to attend today’s meeting, but we offered to meet with the minister. We are committed to collaborating with the government to identify solutions during this challenging time for Canadians.”

Trudeau has said that if the government isn’t satisfied with what major grocers come up with to stabilize prices, he would intervene, including with tax measures.

Graydon said it remains to be seen how detailed the plans will be by the government’s Thanksgiving deadline.

”We’ll have to see whether, you know, the detail of how much completeness can be done by that time. But I think everybody’s working very hard to achieve that,” Graydon said.

Champagne said he is happy Graydon “wants to do something,” because “it’s a gain for Canadians.”

“It’s clear that what’s important is that we have timelines, work plans, and obviously concrete actions,” the minister said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2023.

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Moneris confirms credit and debit card processing outage, but offers few details

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The Canadian payment processing firm Moneris confirmed Saturday that credit and debit card transactions were interrupted by a network outage earlier in the day.

The Toronto-based technology company issued a statement saying there was nothing to suggest the outage was related to a cyber attack.

Complaints about outages started rolling in to the website before noon eastern time, but Moneris did not say when the outage started.

About three hours later, Moneris posted a message on X — the  social media site formerly known as Twitter — saying it had resolved the network problem.

It remains unclear how many businesses and transactions were affected, but data provided by indicated complaints had come in from across the country.

In a statement provided to The Canadian Press, the company said the outage lasted about 90 minutes.

“We have resolved the network outage and returned transaction processing to normal,” the statement said. “We continue to investigate the root cause of the issue. There are no indications this appears to be cyber-attack related and all transaction systems are functioning normally again.”

The company, a joint venture between  Royal Bank and BMO Bank of Montreal, said transaction processing could be slow as its systems catch up with the backlog.

Moneris says it supports more than 325,000 merchant locations across Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2024.

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